~Introduction to My Book Review~
For some reason this year I found myself dwelling on which book I wanted to spend the New Year's weekend with. On a cold, snowy morning the question seemed profound. What read should close 2017 and usher in 2018?
As a book blogger, I’m, of course, already reading titles slated for January release, and if I’m being honest, which is something a book reviewer should always be, then I’ll admit the current ARC I’ve started isn’t wowing me. I’m not saying it’s bad; frankly I haven’t gotten very far. I’m simply stating that it wasn’t going to be the one I wanted floating in my head during a passage of time where we reflect on the past and look to the future.
I came to the conclusion that my read would be a re-read. And I’ve got plenty of romance favorites to choose from. But as I crafted the blog’s other year-end piece, I decided to dig a little deeper into my reread pile. I dug so far that I went back to my graduate school days. But the choice was fitting. And despite the many years since I last studied it, it’s never been far from my mind.
In a year that commenced with the joining of women around the globe to make protest history and one that concluded with ‘feminism’ as the word of the year, I think it fitting to recommend to my fellow women readers and writers Virginia Woolf’s A Room Of One’s Own.
~ Book Review~
Though written in 1929, Woolf’s book length essay, initially intended as speeches on the topic of women and fiction, remains relevant to writers, especially women writers today.
“For books have a way of influencing each other” (109).
If you haven’t taken a walk with Woolf through the shelves, I encourage you to do so with this little gem of materialist feminism, decades ahead of it’s time.
The focus of Woolf’s musings is on the conditions that early women writers wrote under and the lack of a literary legacy they had to build upon. Women writers, she asserts, had to not only overcome indifference (like men writers) but also hostility directed at women for stepping out of their confined societal boundaries.
Her signature stream of conscious style comes through alongside a witty, facetious, and at times sarcastic tone.
Reflecting on Woolf’s message, it is interesting to see how far women writers and women in fiction have come and yet how much some things have stayed the same. How many writers today truly have a room of one’s own, and how many are still penning fiction during nap-time, while planning dinner, and in between letting the dog out and picking the kids up from school?
Highly recommended further reading: Virginia Woolf’s Women and Writing, particularly essays like “Professions for Women” and “Women and Fiction.”